Engineer internet ipv6

APNIC starts to ration IPv4 addresses #ipv6

The Asia Pacific Regional Registry APNIC has, as of today, begun to ration IPv4 addresses. Down to its last /8 block (around 16 million addresses) APNIC will now only be issuing  existing users with /22 blocks of 1,024 addresses and is urging its customers to accelerate their adoption of IPv6.

European registry, RIPE, is expected to be down to its last /8 sometime this summer. In the UK around 60% of LIRs (Local Internet Registry) have yet to even apply for their allocation of IPv6 – check out the stats here.

Engineer internet ipv6

testing your endpoint for ipv6 readiness

IPv6 is very much in vogue at the moment. is a useful site you can visit that tells you how prepared you/your connection/your ISP are for IPv6.

I’ve run some tests on two connections for you to compare the results. One is IPv4 only and the other dual stack IPv4/IPv6. The difference is self explanatory.

The site itself will tell you that the most important test is the Dual Stack DNS. If this one fails or takes too long then you will have problems once people start rolling out IPv6 only sites. Clicking on each image will bring up a larger version. Both sets of tests come from Timico connections  – the one on the left is dual stack and the other IPv4 only. Also click on the header of this posts if you want to see more of the successful test results.

ipv6 test screenshot

Engineer internet ipv6

The Day The Routers Died – official video #ipv6

This is the official video of the song “The Day The Routers Died” sung by Gary Feldman at Last week’s “Move over IPv4 Bring on IPv6” event in Covent Garden, London

Engineer events internet ipv6

Moveover IPv4 Bring on #IPv6 Party

click to register

We are marking the end of the internet as we know it with a celebratory event on the evening of 22nd March at the Highly Prestigious London Transport Museum in Covent Garden.

This gig isn’t just to bury IPv4 though. It is also a serious look at where the world is at with the roll out of IPv6.

If you are a techie in the internet community, a tech journalist or just as importantly an IT manager/CTO/CIO who might want to understand the relevance of IPv4 exhaustion to your business then you need to be here.

We have a nice little retrospective look at the history of the Internet in the UK by early Pioneer and colleague of Vint Cerf, Prof Peter Kirstein.

Also on stage will be speakers discussing the actual state of IPv6 rollout, the practicalities of implementation and the problems yet to be overcome.

Then we will be peering into a crystal ball and taking a look at the future of the internet and the www!

Finally there will be a ceremonial bit of fun whereby IANA will do a re-run of the handover of the last block of IPv4 addresses to RIPE.

Bring your camera. You will want to remember this one

What: Move Over IPv4 (Bring on IPv6)
Where: The London Transport Museum, Covent Garden
When: 18.30 – 21.30 Tuesday March 22nd (ceremonials commence 19.00hrs)
  • A brief history of the internet and the www by internet pioneer Prof Peter Kirstein.
  • What next? Is the world ready for IPv6? What are the problems?
  • The future of the internet!
  • Ceremonial repeat of formal handing over of the last IPv4 blocks by IANA representative to RIPE representative.
  • Party Time!
Cost: This is a free event but entry is by invitation only.

Registration (click here to go to the event site) for “bringonipv6” requires a password as attendance at the event is invitation only. The password is freely available from industry sources or will have already been mailed to you. If we have missed you out you can contact Trefor Davies at [email protected] with your details.

Many thanks need to go to the sponsors that have made this event possible. These are Nominet, LINX, Timico, ThinkBroadband, NewNet, AAISP, Brocade and 6UK.

Engineer internet ipv6

Significant IPv4 announcement to be made in Miami tomorrow #IPv6

Those of you who have been following the countdown to exhaustion of the IPv4 address space will want to tune in to a webcast coming out of Miami tomorrow at 9.30 EST (GMT+5hrs). It is an open secret that this will be the IANA handover of the last 5   /8 blocks of IPv4 addresses.

We in the UK will be marking this important milestone in the history of the internet at a date in March. Look out for an announcement very soon. In the meantime you will be able to watch the ICANN ceremonials and press conference here.

Engineer internet ipv6

Last 2 IPv4 blocks allocated – STOP PRESS

The last two available /8 blocks of IPv4 addresses have been allocated by IANA to APNIC.  This takes the remaining total down to 5 which means the IPv4 address pool is effectively exhausted. The last 5 are spoken for. There are no more. That’s it :).

I’m holding off crying “history, history” until the remaining 5 are allocated.  This was, I’m told, originally planned for a ceremonial handover at the ICANN meeting in San Fransisco in March but will now happen much sooner than that. Keep reading this blog for updates.

I’ve written plenty about this so if you need to understand more do a search for IPv6. It is worth noting that this isn’t the total exhaustion of all IPv4 addresses. That will happen in dribs and drabs as people use up those held by Regional Internet Registries (RIRs – expected to be streched out in ever decreasing block sizes) and then use up their own.

You need an IPv6 strategy. For a quick overview on how it might affect you read this.


OMG the internet is about to run out of addresses what should I do?

IT manager worried about IPv4 to IPv6 migration

Media interest in IPv6 last week prompted a few questions, notably on twitter, regarding whether people should worry about the IPv4 address pool exhaustion. It would be easy to make noise and attract attention by saying “OMG yes – you should worry”. After all it is a fairly momentous event –> “The End of The Internet As We Know It”. ARMAGEDDON!!!

This blog does not indulge in such tabloid-like scaremongering 🙂  So what is the deal?

Well firstly it is very true that the IANA IPv4 address pool is about to run out. There are only seven /8 address block remaining and Asian  Regional Internet Registries (RIRs ) APNIC is about to ask for two of these. The growth of internet usage in Asia has been outpacing the rest of the world.

Word has it that APNIC has been holding back on this request to a) stretch the exhaustion date and b) give IANA a chance to organise the PR surrounding the release of the final blocks. Once APNIC has received its two blocks (each /8 contains approx 16 million IPv4 addresses) we will be down to the last five. This is expected to happen in January – or mid February at the latest.

The rule is that this is the point at which IPv4 exhaustion is declared and the remaining five blocks are distributed to the five RIRs. The last five should be released in March. (all dates subject to change in this rapidly changing world)

Of course whilst this means that IANA will no longer have any addresses each RIR will. It should, however, be remembered that /8 blocks are being used up at the rate of one every 6 weeks or so. It won’t be long before RIRs will run out of stock. It will then be down to individual ISPs to nurture their own stocks so that they last as long as possible. I have already heard (anecdotal) stories of companies being bought for their IPv4 addresses, at least in part.

ISPs can make their stocks last longer by getting better at recycling IPv4 addresses from customers who have left for pastures new. These ISPs will need to move to IPv6 or, in the medium term, depart the market because they will not be able to service new customers– enter tabloid press – ISPS HIT WALL AND GO OUT OF BUSINESS PANIC/STAMPEDE/WILL MINE BE ONE OF THEM? !!!

The industry has known this has been coming for a long time – more than 10 years so what’s the state of play?

The global network penetration of IPv6 is still quite low – only a few % – it does vary from country to country. This means that relatively few networks can talk to each other using IPv6. This rate of adoption is increasing as D-Day gets closer (Depletion Day?).

The migration strategy for IPv6 implementation is to run dual stack networks ie to run both IPv4 and IPv6 in parallel. Existing ISP customers will be able to continue to use their existing “IPv4 only” routers. IPv4 is not going away in a hurry. However you should know that once IPv4 has been “used up” new websites and services will start to appear that only use IPv6. If your ISP cannot provide IPv6 then it is quite probable that you will not be able to access services that only use IPv6. With time this will be a growing problem.

As long as your ISP does support IPv6 then your routers don’t need to – the ISP can do a Network Address Translation on your behalf. After all end users don’t typically see their IP address. End users use the friendlier DNS system for sending emails and web browsing eg sits at IP address but you don’t need to know the underlying number – the system takes care of it for you.

Their problem will be if their ISP does not support IPv6 then they will not be able to help when (or any other DNS based service) moves to IPv6.

Now consumers don’t need to rush out and buy a new router. For one if their ISP does not yet support IPv6 it would be a waste of money, but they do need to be sure in the medium term that the ISP has an IPv6 story. The other point to note is that routers don’t last for ever and do periodically get replaced as technology develops. For example in moving from 8Mbps to 24Mbps broadband many people will have had to have a new router.

One of the things holding back the release of IPv6 to consumers is the lack of support for the protocol amongst consumer broadband router vendors. The market leader for IPv6 equipment support is Cisco, whose kit is typically used in business environments. Cisco routers are too expensive for home users who expect to get the equipment bundled with their broadband connection for free or at least a very low price.

There are very few alternatives with fully working solutions – these vendors are only now just sampling their first devices to their ISP channel.

There is no real reason for this, other than a perceived lack of market demand, because ADSL routers typically all use the same open source (ie free) Linux kernel. Linux is the pet project of a global engineering community and provides good IPv6 support. We should therefore expect to see many IPv6 enabled broadband routers appearing in the market during the course of 2011 which will likely trigger more ISP IPv6 announcements.

A business should give more thought to a plan to migrate its network from IPv4 to IPv6, or to provide support for a dual stack. This is because it might be a bit of a nuisance for consumers to have only partial access to the internet but this could be mission critical for a business, especially if it is that business’ own website and services, or those of its trading partners that become inaccessible.

Up until now this is something that has been completely ignored by the IT manager community but it is something that they should be aware of in 2011.

Support from Cisco and Linux is good news generally as many businesses are heavy users of both Note a business may not know it uses Linux but for example Timico installs IPv6-ready Fortigate firewalls – it is the firewall’s underlying Linux stack that facilitates this.

There is a lot of uncertainty here and I will be arranging some educational workshops to cover this in the near future – watch this space. In the meantime if you want to know more by all means drop me a line at tref at

If you want to learn more about what an ISP does to prepare for IPv6 read about our work at Timico in this previous post. Note since writing that post in December 2010 the number of IPv6 routes supported by Timico has grown from 3,500 to 4,500 which shows how quickly the space is moving.

Geoff Huston also has a good discussion on this subject here.

PS I will update the percentage penetration of IPv6 numbers as I come across them.

internet ipv6

The end of #IPv4 and the coming of #IPv6 – exclusive interview with The Young Journalist Academy

Over the past few days I have had a flurry of media interviews on the subject of the exhaustion of the IANA IPv4 address pool and the advent of IPv6. This is increasingly going to be a talking point during 2011. The biggest problem in linking to these interviews is that they are usually on the BBC and typically only accessible via iPlayer, and then only for a week after the event.

It would be nice to be able to link to something that should stay up for a more usable period of time. On this occasion I was pleased to spend some of Saturday morning (pre golf 🙂 ) talking to some budding young journalists in my hometown of Lincoln. They (Jonathan and Robert from Year 8, Carre’s Grammar School, Sleaford) have written a story and posted it on “The Young Journalist Academy” website.

The podcast is here.

Business events xmas tweetup in progress #trefparty

As you read this the xmas tweetup is underway. We are using the #trefparty hashtag on twitter, assuming anyone remembers after a couple of drinks. I will endeavour to post some photos in real time during the bash. If you are close by you can still come along to the Betjeman Arms at St Pancras station.

Sorry if you couldn’t make it but look out for the next event in early 2011 where we will be marking the passing of the IPv4 era.

Cloud Engineer internet ipv6

The Road to IPv6 (or How to Avoid the IPv4 Apocalypse)

Apocalypse IPv4

A paper by Trefor Davies and Chris Nicholls

The Problem
Regular readers of this blog will know that we, the world, are about to run out of the IPv4 addresses that are absolutely crucial to the running of the internet. This notionally apocalyptic event is almost certain to happen over the next three months, maybe even two.

The allocation of IP addresses is managed by an organisation called IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). IANA hands out these numbers in /8 blocks containing 16,777,216 addresses. Clearly you would have to be a big network provider to need 16 million IP addresses. Because of this IANA hands these large blocks to five regional registries that then manage the distribution of smaller blocks to their customers. In Europe the regional registry is called RIPE NCC.

Whilst I have myself been guilty of (playfully) scaremongering in respect of the exhaustion of the pool of Ipv4 addresses, it is only really IANA that is about to run out. RIPE will not run out for perhaps another year and even after that individual ISPs will have their own existing unused addresses to play with.

Notwithstanding this it behoves all ISPs and network operators to get their house in order with Ipv6 which is the long since identified answer to the problem. Ipv6, a 128 bit protocol supports 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses compared the 32 bit IPv4 which only provides 4,294,967,296 (232) . IPv6 is expected to serve us for a very long time.

Few ISPs in the UK have announced IPv6 support. As we approach the IANA Apocalypse I thought I would share with you the engineering work that we have been doing at Timico in respect of IPv6

Timico has been running IPv6 as part of our internal research and development activity for a number of years. The core of the network has been running dual stack IPv4 and IPv6 with external connectivity to the rest of the internet for most of this time. Attempts thus far to bring these services to our customers have been limited due to the lack of demand, vendor support and our core IPv4 operations taking precedence.

Engineer ipv6

Stop press ipv4 pool down to 2% as 4x /8s allocated in November

The title says it all. I’m travelling at the moment with only an iPad to create posts with but I note on the wire that the IANA address pool is down to 2%.

I will need to revise my exhaustion date but february is either looking good or too late. My main concern is that I need to get the Apocalypse IPv4 party organised but am unclear about the date.

The end of the ipv4 world is nigh :))))

Engineer internet

Is black market for IPv4 blocks imminent?

Whilst I was on holiday the IPv4 Exhaustion counter ticked down another digit to 5% or 14 /8 blocks .

Nov 16 2009 10% – dropped through 400,000,000 mark
Jan 20th 9%
Feb 25th 8%
May 10th 7%
June 2nd 6%
August 5%

Currently we seem to be using a /8 block every three weeks. With 9 blocks left before we are down to the last 5 (at which point IANA will distribute these simultaneously to the 5 Regional Internet Registries) it looks like we have 27 weeks to go to IPv4 Exhaustion.

In my book this is February 2011 and not the June date reported by the Exhaustion Counter on this blog.

Engineer internet

IPv4 down to 6%

I’ve been tracking the run down of the IPv4 address pool. This morning another two /8s have been allocated and the number remaining has dropped to 6% of the total.

Nov 16 2009 10% – dropped through 400,000,000 mark
Jan 20th 9%
Feb 25th 8%
May 10th 7%
June 2nd 6%

I make no comment here other than it is getting peculiarly exciting. We have effectively used up 5% of the address pool in 7 months.

Engineer engineering internet ipv6

IPv6 to IPv4 tracert showing NAT

tracert showing IPv6 to IPv4 NAT with end destination - click to enlarge
tracert showing IPv6 to IPv4 NAT – click to enlarge


Adrian Kennard of AAISP gave a talk on their implementation of IPv6  at yesterday’s UK Network Operators Forum (UKNOF).  Whilst it may not be of huge interest to most readers it is worth taking a look at how the old IPv4 and new IPv6 networked worlds will talk to each other.

The picture below represents a tracert to the website.  The BBC sits on an IPv4 network.  AK is moving  AAISP exclusively to IPv6. His customers still need to be able to reach everywhere on the internet and this is done by Network Address Translation (NAT), something that most people will associate with private internal IP addresses.

The tracert clearly shows the long originating IPv6 address 2001:8b0:0:31::51bb:1ffa and the point in the network at which NAT is used to convert to IPv4, in this instance when connecting to the LONAP peering exchange. The shorter address is the more familiar IPv4 format.

Thanks for Adrian for permission to use this.  His presentation can be found here.

Engineer internet

IPv4 exhaustion date is Sept 5th 2011

I note that the number of available IPv4 addresses has dropped below the 10% mark. This is displayed on the counter on the right hand column of this blog but it took a link to the Number Resource Org on Facebook to alert me to the fact.

This year should see an intensification of efforts to move to the full support of IPv6. The Sept 5th 2011 date for exhaustion of the IPv4 pool is not very far away now. In reality there will still be stocks of addresses held “in private hands” so that date doesn’t see the unprepared fall off a cliff but it is a clear pressure point.

I should make it publicly known now that I’m planning a party for this date.  Anyone wanting to come along should get their name in early as I anticipate huge demand 🙂 .

Engineer internet

IPv4 drops below last 400m addresses

I noticed over the weekend that the exhaustion counter for IPv4 dropped below 400m addresses. This is just a stake in the ground. As I write there are 653 days to go.  I’ll revisit this when it drops below 300m.

Engineer internet

IPv4 – the end is nigh?!

The IPv4 situation is already known to geeks everywhere. This is the protocol version that has been used by IP networks everywhere since the year dot (approximately). The number of IPv4 addresses the world can use is fixed because these addresses use 4 Bytes of data. The growth in IP networks everywhere is consuming IPv4 addresses at lightning speed.

This is not new news but we are now getting very close to where the addresses run out. Fear not. We will all move onto IPv6 which uses 16Bytes per address. Timico has an allocation of 158,456,325,028,528,675,187,087,900,672 IPv6 addresses for its customers’ use – so plenty of room for growth there.

The industry isn’t quite ready to make the move yet – certainly not in Europe and North America. However the time is rapidly coming where action will have to be taken. This link to has a neat illustration of how much time we have left – currently 788 days according to their site. 

Another interesting site is which shows you the number of discrete networks that make up the internet. As the number of these networks grow an Internet Service Provider needs to add links into each new network as it comes online. Fortunately this happens automatically.

Finally another good read is the map of the internet from  There is an element of needing to understand what you are looking at but even for  the layman it looks quite interesting (I think so anyway).

The end may well be nigh but don’t worry we are not doomed!